Before returning to the United States, Ambassador Gary Locke hosted a reception for Project Pengyou at the U.S. Embassy. During his time as Ambassador, Locke has been an avid supporter of increased citizen diplomacy between the US and China, stressing that cross-cultural, mutual understanding is a must for an amicable US-China relationship in the future. At the event, Ambassador Locke emphasized this notion, stating that “we have to make sure that the people of both countries understand each other, have a good working relationship, and have common interest and friendship.” These statements are in accordance with the work Project Pengyou has done to promote educational exchange and build bridges between the US and China.
Other speakers at the event included Elizabeth Knupf, Chief Representative of the Ford Foundation Beijing Office and Project Pengyou’s founding sponsor. She, too, spoke of the importance of the need for each Pengyou to take responsibility for the maintenance of a healthy US-China relationship. The speeches were concluded by Project Pengyou’s Chief Pengyou, and President of the Golden Bridges Foundation, Holly Chang. Along with telling her own China story, Holly also introduced the Project Pengyou Leadership Fellows Program, aimed at training select young Americans with China experience in grass-roots organizing and cross-cultural skills.
Ambassador Gary Locke has been an influential leader and a supporter of Project Pengyou since his appointment in 2011, and it was a great pleasure to participate in his farewell tour.
About the Ford Foundation: Established in 1936, the foundation is an independent, global organization with a legacy of commitment to innovative leaders on the frontlines of social change.